Saturday 31 October 2009

London Underground, 55 Broadway SW1

The last two 'winds' that are still visible from street level are the North Wind by A.H. Gerrard and the West Wind by S. Rabinovitch.
Gerrard's North Wind (on the west side of the south wing) is a busty girl holding her hair as it trails in geometrical waves behind her. 'Gerry' Gerrard was in a position to observe how hair waved in the wind, having been an airman in the First World War, but he has clearly rejected naturalism for formal composition. He was steeped in Art Deco, designing a lot for ocean liners at the time. After the Second World War he became professor of sculpture at the Slade, spending considerable time scouring bomb sites for good carving stone.
Samuel Rabinovitch studied in Manchester, the Slade and Paris: the West Wind (on the south side of the east wing) was his first major commission. She sweeps in from the Atlantic with a gull.
He went on to carve some heads on the new Daily Telegraph building in Fleet Street but then decided for some reason to abandon sculpture in favour of all-in wrestling and acting in films, under the nam Sam Rabin. He returned to art later, becoming drawing teacher at Goldsmiths' College.

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